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Law: Barrister

A guide to careers as a barrister, solicitor, legal executive or paralegal



What jobs are available and how to get them

Barrister Job Description

Barristers represent clients in court and draft legal documents



A Barrister is a law professional who represents clients in court

The first step towards qualifying is to get a Law degree or graduate law conversion course

We recommend that while you're a student you try to do at least three mini-Pupillages and by finding other work experience opportunities

After this you will need to complete a reasoning test called the Bar Course Aptitude Test

If you pass this test you can apply for a Bar Professional Training Course. This is a year long course

You will also need to complete 12 qualifying sessions with a one of the Inns of Court

Following this you do two or more Pupillages - these are six month placements at Baristers' Chambers

This can lead on to a Tenancy in a chamber, or employment

Things you can do - by year of study

This advice is also relevant to non-law students

If you're not studying law, it's worth thinking about these things in the final year of your degree

  • Keep applying for mini-pupillages
  • Apply for scholarships with the Inns of Court
  • Do your BCAT test
  • BPTC applications go in between November and January
  • Start searching for pupillages from November (applications from Jan - Feb)
  • If you have not already done so, join an Inn of Court before starting your BPTC
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Mini-pupillages are two-week work placements with a legal chambers

These placements are of increasing importance due to the high level of competition for pupillages

Mini-pupillages are usually undertaken by people doing law degrees or conversion courses

Some law schools recommend that students take three mini-pupillages while studying

Inns of Court

The four Inns of Court are societies of barristers. In order to take qualifications in this area, one needs to first belong to one of these bodies. The deadline to apply is 31 May the year before the start of the Bar training course

The Inns of Court offer scholarships for the BPTC. These open in September/October and close on 3 November 2017

Bar Course Aptitude Test

The Bar Course Aptitude Test is a screening measure to ensure that people studying BPTCs are capable of getting qualified. It is necessary to take this test before applying for BPTC courses

It costs £150 if taken in the EU, and £170 if taken outside the EU.

BCAT opened on 16 December 2016 and closes on 30 September 2017

After Your Law Degree/Conversion Course - Barristers

To qualify as a Barrister, you need to obtain a Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC)

This is a one year course run in a university.

The first round of applications was from 12 December 2016 to 11 January 2017.

The clearing round for applications in 2017 will take place between 14 April 2017 and 1 September 2017.


Professional Training - Pupillages

Pupillages are year long placements with law firms, these are split into two six month periods working in chambers under the supervision of a junior Barrister. In some cases, people take a third six month period in order to improve their employability

Start searching for pupillages on the Pupillage Gateway from 28 November 2017 (applications open from 8 Jan - 7 Feb 2018)

The pay for a pupillage is at least £1,000 a month, and can be up to £30,000 a year

Get Experience

A competitive job market

Every year around 1,700 people study a BPTC

Every year around 480 Pupillages are offered

People can apply for Pupillages for 5 years after their course

This means that every year there are around 3,000 people applying for Pupillages

On average, only 34% of BPTC students go on to get a Pupillage